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How to identify and avoid Phishing scams

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How to identify and avoid Phishing scams

Over recent months we’ve seen an increase in the number of sophisticated email phishing scams that are trying to defraud the email receiver.  Every organisation relies on email without a second thought, and it is for this reason that it has become such a commonplace method for people to send you unwanted communications that are at best annoying, and at worst harmful to your business.

So what is a  Phishing email?  Phishing emails are designed by fraudsters to appear as if they have been sent by banks, credit card companies, government departments, online stores auction sites, and other trusted organisations and on first impressions they look genuine!  Phishing emails attempt to trick you into either:

  • Clicking on a link to visit a hoax but authentic-looking website which either requests confidential information or is infected with malware.
  • Opening an attachment disguised as a legitimate file such as a document or .exe file, but which actually contains malware.

Phishing emails often (but not always) display some of the following characteristics:

  • The sender’s email address is different from the trusted organisation’s website address.
  • The email is sent from a completely different address or a free webmail address.
  • The email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting such as “Dear customer.”
  • Misspelt words and poor grammar.
  • A sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed.

It’s not practical to scrutinise every single email that comes in to your inbox but keep these tips at the back of your mind when dealing with emails.  This list isn’t exhaustive.

  • Do not open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Do not readily click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email.
  • Do not respond to emails from unknown sources.
  • Do not make purchases or charity donations in response to spam email.
  • Do not reply to unwanted email.

There’s no foolproof method for stopping these types of emails so it’s important that yo’re vigilant.  If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate as another persons opinion or of it’s from someone you know or another organisation give them a call to ask if they sent it.  The investment of those extra minutes could save you from being defrauded.

If you require any advice please get in touch.


Content for this blog has been sourced from Get Safe Online.


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